Tuesday, January 13, 2009

To my Dental Friends...

To all my dental wife friends (and I have many, so I expect lots of response!) ....

Ask your dentist husbands their opinion if they think the sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) found in most toothpastes can cause canker sores.

Leland gets canker sores very often. They come and go in different places in her mouth. They are very painful for her. If one is pretty bad, she often won't finish her meal and sometimes eats in tears. It's very sad.

I have been doing research on the possible causes of her recurrent canker sores. I have not been able to find a pattern of any of the typical foods that cause canker sores, citrus fruits and gluten products. Chuck and his mother get canker sores after eating walnuts, but no other nut.

All the information I found listed SLS toothpastes and mouthwashes as a possible cause, so the first thing I am going to try to cut out is toothpaste with SLS. I have yet to look for some, that is my goal for tomorrow. SLS is the foaming agent found in toothpaste, so it might be hard to find a SLS free toothpaste that would be good for a 3 year old.

If anyone has any other ideas for possible causes, let me know. Her doctor has just suggested eliminating things from her diet to try to find a cause.


  1. I have no idea about the SLS, but I swear I get canker sores when I eat a lot of sugar or chocolate. (I hear it's a yeast imbalance.)

  2. So I know my advice will be kind of lame but I remember an Arm & Hammer toothpaste made with baking soda that would never foam and I couldn't figure out why. Granted, it tasted pretty iffy so I don't know if Leland will go for it, but you could always bribe her. :)

  3. Okay...here's the skinny.
    Scott says that yes, SLS does cause canker sores in "a small, but significant number of people." You're right in that it's only purpose it to get toothpaste to lather. But as an aside, a toothpaste that has SLS in it also means it contains fluoride. The American Academy of Pediatric dentistry recommends waiting until age 6 to use
    fluoride unless directed by your dentist.

    So, I don't know if your dentist has directed that or not, but unless he/she has, it's best to use a kids toothpaste that is fluoride-free. The kind we use is made by Oral-B and is called Toddler Training Toothpaste. It doesn't contain SLS or fluoride. Hope that helps!

  4. I actually got a lot of Canker Sores when I was a kid. I thought it was just something that happened to everyone so didn't really think much of it. In my experience, nuts, or sugar or acid in high quantities can definitely contribute to them, but for me it was a bit different.

    When I was in 7th grade I started having a lot of sore throats, and the doctor suggested having my tonsils and adnoids (spelling?) out.

    As terrible as the experience was, the sore throats stopped and the Canker sores went down by quite a bit. I guess it had something to do with the bacteria in my mouth and the tonsils not acting the way they needed to.

    Hope that helps!

  5. The sores are AKA apthous ulcers for your research info. They are an autoimmune issue that is not well understood. Various things will cause the sore in various people so it could be anything, but you are right as stated by another commenter, the SLS can cause them in some people. The best treatment is a prescription from your dentist for apthous ulcers. It is basically a topical steriod that stops your immune response that is killing the tissue there, and it has a little numbing agent as well to make it feel better.

  6. My sister's college boyfriend would get huge outbreaks of canker sores when he went through a stressful period (in his case - applying to grad school) and he had that stress response ever since he was a kid. I know that stress can inhibit natural immune responses so that fits with the immunity theory.

  7. Thanks for the advice. I got her a new toothpaste and we are cutting all hard candies. She usually never eats hard candy, except at church a sweet man likes to give candy to the kids and I'm going to try to not let her eat them anymore. Hopefully we can prevent her from getting so many.

    We have a steroid that Chuck uses on his canker sores, but she won't let me put anything on hers.

  8. Wow! Great comments!
    Poor little Leland Joy! I am so sorry she is having such problems!

    I get them when I eat pineapple... so if it is a genetic thing, maybe watch that also.

    Love you much,

  9. Okay.. i have been through this all before, and my sister.We cut out fluoride toothpaste ( i used a crest line ) and that helped but i have gone to the natural toothpaste now.
    I used to have them all the time!

    -liz argyle